Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige Wednesday said without the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), the experience of Nigeria would have been like that of Venezuela.
Ngige said Nigeria’s passing through hard times, not because of the current government, but as a result of poor planning over the years.
He also said, many Nigerians would have spilled into Cameroon, Niger, and other places as refugees without Buhari in power.
The minister spoke in his office after his induction as a Distinguished Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Corporate Governance, a leading global professional body of both present and aspiring leaders, entrepreneurs, and people in corporate governance.
These were contained in a statement on Wednesday by Deputy Director , Press and Public Relations of the ministry, Charles Akpan.
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The statement read, “I know that our country is passing through a very rough time now because we have not planned well. It is not this administration. We know we were all dependent on oil. So, when oil prices came crashing and when security issues arose, disrupting production, we were caught napping. Because of that, we went into recession. Later on, COVID-19 forced us to go into a second recession. We are not yet out of the woods.
“We thank God. I am part of this government. I know that if we don’t have the kind of leader that we have who is strong like President Muhammadu Bihari, the experience of Nigeria would have been like that of Venezuela.
“The citizens of Nigeria would have spilled into the Cameroons, Niger and other places as refugees. We were looking forward to it. But he forced us all to go into agriculture. We made agriculture the first signature programme of the administration and provided food security so that we can eat whatever we grow here.”
Ngige noted that Nigeria has stopped the importation of rice, sorghum, millet, tomatoes, and other things hitherto imported, all of which were dependent on the scarce foreign exchange.
According to him, the country’s GDP grew by 5.01 percent in fourth quarter 2021, the highest in the last seven years, marking three consecutive quarters of growth, following the negative growths recorded in the second and third quarters of 2020.
He said, “Services provided the lead, followed by agriculture, even though it had a deep and then, followed by Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
“So, we have to be grateful to the Government and our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, for standing firm that we will import food anymore here. Even if he didn’t stand firm, we didn’t have the money anymore to start importing potatoes, tooth pick, chocolate and others.” punch